The family of former Pleasanton resident Sydney "Syd" West, the college student who has been missing since last being seen in San Francisco last September, has extended the $25,000 reward for West's safe return in honor of her 20th birthday this month.
West's parents Jay and Kimberly West, who have enlisted the help of Bay Area private investigator Scott Dudek, continue to keep media and public attention on their daughter's disappearance. The reward, which was more than doubled from $10,000 to $25,000 this spring, expired earlier in July, but they decided to extend it after West's birthday on July 11.
"Happy 20th Birthday Sydney!!" family said in a hopeful post on the "Find Sydney West" Facebook page on her birthday.
"Your favorite dessert is made, it’s a gorgeous day on the beach, the Spikeball is ready for you, a house full of friends are here -- just need the birthday girl. More to come as we celebrate everything Sydney today!! The beautiful, smart, funny kid who made us parents 20 years ago today," they added.
The San Francisco Police Department is the lead agency on the investigation and have been providing updates along the way to the West family, which used to live in Pleasanton before moving to Chapel Hill, N.C., several years ago. There has been no new information about her whereabouts.
A student at the University of California at Berkeley, West -- then 19 years old -- was last seen near the Golden Gate Bridge in the area of Crissy Field in San Francisco during the early-morning hours on Sept. 30. She was considered to be at-risk due to anxiety and depression, according to authorities.
She was very close with the rest of her family and had a lengthy phone conversation with her dad on the evening of Sept. 29, according to her family. Jay West previously said that he had fully expected to speak with her the next day and became increasingly worried when she did not return multiple calls from him the next day.
Family said she enjoyed the area around the Golden Gate Bridge and it was not unlike her to go there to take pictures and go for a walk or run.
Video footage from on and around the bridge on Sept. 30 has been carefully reviewed by investigators, but camera views were obstructed due to fog and smoky conditions, making it impossible to tell her exact location on the bridge.
Investigators have confirmed that she used a rideshare service to get to the area on that fateful morning, according to the family, who added that the driver was fully cooperative and helpful with police and is not a suspect in her disappearance. Family said that there has been no activity on any of Syd West's phone, bank, credit card or social media accounts since her disappearance.
The family is hopeful that someone around the Golden Gate Bridge, which was busy with pedestrians, cyclists and commuters that morning, may have seen something and will come forward.
Syd West is described as white, 5-foot-10-inches tall and weighing 130-135 pounds, with blue eyes and light-brown hair (worn in a bun on the top of her head that morning). She was last seen on Sept. 30 wearing black leggings, a teal hoodie and her favorite old slip-on Vans (dark green and black print). She may have been carrying a black backpack and may or may not have been wearing corrective eye glasses.
People can learn more about West's case at www.findsydneywest.com. To submit a tip, contact Dudek at 925-705-8328 or [email protected]